This video from the New Yorker looks into the gilder’s craft: a practice where fragile pages of gold are worked into delicate decadence.
Watching Beth Fishman talk about her work brings to mind the strange commonality between money and art.
To go beyond the mere value of what we can see and touch, art and money both require an act of faith, an acceptance of the essential qualities that make a thing unique, beautiful, valuable, or rare.
When this act of faith if challenged we call it a counterfeit, or a forgery.
I’ve been thinking about these kinds of things a lot lately as Bitcoin has become more popular.
Currency, in the way I’ve always thought about it, seems to suggest a going concern, a kind of collective circulatory system of a particular society that’s fixed in time and place.
Money was rare.
Money was authoritative (or even authoritarian).
Yet a digital currency that only exist as the output of an algorithm is totally separate from that.
Yes, Bitcoin can be spent for computers, or coffee, or drugs—but can it gild? Can it succeed as cultural, as well as economic currency?
I suppose building cultural value is the sort of things brands are trying to do all the time. The evolution of the Bitcoin brand promises to be an interesting one.